I met a girl when I was up at Oklahoma State by way of several mutual friends. We were technically only acquaintances, but we were friends on various social media avenues. I knew enough about her to know that she was a great photographer and I had seen some of her work here and there, so I asked her if she would do my wedding/bridal portraits. Right off the bat she said yes and when I told her what I was looking for, she sent me a picture of Saguaro National Park in Arizona and said something to the effect of “how cool would this be”. Of course I knew she was joking, but I wasn’t. I had been sitting at my desk at work, day in and day out, writing blogs about being spontaneous and wild with nothing but good intentions to back up what I was writing. I had no practice to back up what I preached.
I told her that I was down. I had been itching to go to Arizona for a long time anyways, why not get some super gorgeous bridal pictures while I’m there. Let me tell ya’ll, this girl didn’t miss a beat. She had our Air BnB booked and off we went. Fifteen hours through the desert for pictures that will rock the bridal world for years to come. When I post the pictures, you’ll understand why it was well worth the trip.
Before we left, I was somewhat panicked. I was a little worried about what all I could and couldn’t afford and if I might have gotten too ambitious about this whole thing. I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong in my whole life. I put every negative thought in the back of my mind, packed my bags, and went for it.
So far, everyone who has heard about our little adventure has thought that we were out of our minds for practically taking a full blown vacation just to take pictures, and in Arizona of all places. I didn’t really understand it either, I just needed to go and I didn’t really care where. I was sick of sitting in my cubicle, waiting for someone to come in and give me instructions on how to do something I cared nothing about, telling me when to eat, sleep, and leave. I needed a break that didn’t require me to clock out.
When we got there, we were exhausted to say the least, even though the time change put us there right around 7:30 pm. We pulled up to our little Air BnB in a classy, conservative neighborhood and met the house manager. She was peppy, sweet, and more than willing to help us figure our way around Tucson. The house though…it was the most perfect little pueblo in the West. The walls were painted beautiful, vibrant shades of blue and orange, there was no TV in the living room, which really intrigued me for some reason , and the back yard could have been a wedding venue in and of itself. It really set the mood for the trip in general. The next morning, we drank mimosas while getting ready, blared music, and we even snagged some pictures in the back yard, and front, because we just couldn’t let the beautiful landscape go to waste. I did yoga outside one morning on the back patio and it was as peaceful as a pleasant dream. And this was all just at the house. We hadn’t even ventured out into Tucson yet!
Let’s just pause right here so that I can tell ya’ll just how unprepared I was for these pictures: I somehow forgot that my hair would probably need to look presentable for this little photo shoot we drove across Timbuktu for. And just so ya’ll can have an idea about what kind of a cosmetologist I am, I still have eye shadow in my make up bag from Jr. High and I can barely curl my hair without burning the skin off of my earlobes and fingers. Lucky for me, Kaci knows a few tips and tricks that helped me through this small crisis. The super simple up-do turned out absolutely gorgeous. Ten times better than anything I could have pulled off by myself, and to my surprise, it held up all day! In fact, it looked even better as the day went on because it took on a more natural look.
When we got to our picture taking destination, I was nothing short of blown away. I haven’t had many experiences in life that have been more or better than I expected, but this was definitely one of them. It was more beautiful than I expected and, without contest, one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in this country. The pictures (from what I have seen thus far) were more perfect than I expected. The trip in general was more than I had anticipated at all. I didn’t expect it to be bad or boring, I just didn’t expect the full effect that I got.
So our first day was amazing, obviously. We only had two nights in the Air BnB though, and neither of us were ready to part ways with the desert, so we explored. We found a few cute little antique shops, ate some (more) good food, drank us a couple of margaritas, ate melted chocolate in the truck, and then decided to find out what the college scene was all about. At this point, we were running slightly low on cash, and although our Air BnB was available for another night, we decided to give the local Econo Lodge a try for $30 a piece. There was one bed and the covers only had like 3 stains on them, plus they graced us with a fresh bottle of shampoo and two bars of soap. We ended up making out of there the next morning with free bagels, coffee, and enough money to get us home. Overall, I’d give the hotel 2 stars and the experience 5.
The “Taj Mahal” of Tucson, as Kaci put it, was conveniently located just a couple blocks away from the college bars and night life. Needless to say, our second night in Tucson was significantly different than our first. We went from drinking wine and eating at an upper-crust Japanese restaurant to drinking beer and eating pizza that was bigger than our forearms. I would have hung out on that side of town for days. The people were so cool. The drinks were phenomenal. The shopping was so unique. There was so much going on and it was fun to blend in with the scene. (Important side note: Arizona doesn’t stop selling liquor until 2 am, and then starts again at 6 am. Mimosas and margaritas flow like waterfalls there.)
So we had a very diverse 48 hours. Our first day was business, cute house, conservative neighborhood, wine and dine. The next day was grunge, downtown, spontaneous, sketchy hotel, beer and street pizza. Both days were fun and exhilarating. To my surprise, this wasn’t even an expensive trip. Even with the gas money there and back and the Air BnB stay, it wasn’t bad at all.
My point is, if you constantly worry about taking off work to do the things you want to do, maybe you aren’t at the right job. If you are always saying “later” or “another time” or “when I can afford it”, just rule it out completely. You’ll never go. You will never have enough money to do everything you want to do unless you find a way to make your passion your job. If you have a small amount of cash, you can go out of state for little to nothing if you’re willing to hunker down in a $60 hotel for a night or two and stay low maintenance on your activities. You’ll spend the rest of your life dying for Friday to come around and dreading Sunday night if you don’t make now happen. Whatever you want to do, do it. Wherever you wanna go, go. However you want to spend your time, spend it. But you are the only person in this world that is behind the wheel of your life. If you are controlled by money or materialistic things, that could possibly be what is holding you back. Time is not a renewable resource, make the most of it while you can. If working to live means more to you than living to work, which I hope it does, find what it is you enjoy and figure out a way to make a living doing that. I didn’t say “get rich” doing that. You probably won’t get rich doing whatever it is you love, and if you do, that’s awesome! But we live in such a materialistic world that seems to revolve around making money just to dispose of it on things that are also disposable.
Traveling is not disposable. Those memories are going to last a lifetime. You might kick yourself in the face for spending $500 on clothes and that new iPhone, but I can promise you that you would not have that effect if you spent that money on making memories.
If I would have gone with my initial doubts and “what-if’s” I would never have forgiven myself for missing out on such an amazing trip. If I wouldn’t have cut into my savings to go on this adventure, I would have traded two days of the freedom and fun I’ve been craving for a little extra cash in my pocket, which can’t compare to the experience I had. Why have a savings account in the first place if you never use it? I’m glad I didn’t worry about what my work would think or about the money I’d spend. I’m beyond grateful that I jumped first and looked later. I’d do it all over again tomorrow, and now that I know more about my spontaneous side, I just might! Besides, I left a piece of my heart in Arizona, guess I’ll just have to go back and get it.